Published: 00:01, 17 August 2016
A thieving administrator at a GP surgery who was caught selling stolen NHS dressings on eBay has been given a dressing down by a judge.
Kirsty Caswell, 24, and partner Mitchell Gibbens, 32, both of Eskdale Avenue, Ramsgate, sold thousands of pounds of worth of items which she had taken from the Westgate Surgery.
The pair were only caught when four packages mailed from the practice were returned by Royal Mail in 2014 because they had too much postage on them.
Bosses realised the dressings had been stolen and after tracing a number of eBay accounts, it led police to arrest the crooked couple.
The judge heard that Caswell now worked as an administrator for East Kent College but had not told her employers of her conviction.
Judge Adele Williams told her: "You asserted that although you were being thoroughly dishonest in what you did that was OK because everyone else was doing it as well.
"That is a wholly reprehensible stance to take and does you no good at all. The only person you are deluding is yourself."
Prosecutor Craig Evans revealed Caswell was originally charged with stealing nearly £18,000 worth of goods.
However, after checking with eBay, she eventually admitted stealing £5,000 worth of items and her partner Gibbens pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.
Caswell began working as a filing clerk at the surgery from March 2008 and became the practice's "trusted" principal clinical coder – which allowed her to order items.
"The NHS and the public and every taxpayer is the poorer because of your dishonesty" - Judge Adele Williams, to Caswell
When the four packages were returned to the surgery, checks were made through eBay which led to two people who were not associated with the medical centre.
Mr Evans said later checks revealed another pair selling NHS equipment – and it was then discovered that a friend of the seller was Caswell's partner.
The prosecutor said Caswell and Gibbens, a would-be film animator, had used friends’ eBay accounts to sell the stolen equipment before pocketing the cash.
The police were alerted and, during the three-month investigation, Caswell suddenly resigned.
"She was the only member of staff to resign during that time," added the prosecutor.
Caswell received a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work for the community, and to remain indoors under an electronic curfew between 9pm and 7am for the next four months.
Gibbens was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and must obey the same curfew order.
The pair were also ordered to pay £250 in costs and Caswell was told she had to repay the £5,000.
The judge said: "Caswell, you were entrusted with NHS money, which meant taxpayers’ money.
"You asserted there was no immediate loser – there certainly was, it was the NHS and the public and every taxpayer is the poorer because of your dishonesty."